Alex Thomson came to the Jennaberring district North of Quairading from Yea in Victoria in 1908 and took
up land in the area. His father Jim and elder brother Will joined him in the venture soon after when his
mother had sadly passed away.

Both sets of grandparents had migrated from Scotland in 1838 to South Australia two years after the colony
was founded and took up farming, so farming was in his blood. Alex called his farm “Blair Athol”. The
property was situated an equal distance (18 miles) from the wheat belt towns of Tammin and Quairading.
The property was about three or four thousand acres and the virgin land had to be cleared of timber before
any crops could be planted. Timber on the land was salmon gum, white gum, jam, York, mallee and gimlet.

“Blair Athol” homestead 1925 with Brown and Thomson families

The gimlet trees grew in first class soil and grew to about 5 – 6 metres and were used mainly for stock yards,
roof rails and bush sheds. Salmon gums got their name being similar in colour to the salmon fish. A
beautiful tree with a massive foliage and the soil it grew in very good for growing wheat. White gum soil
was down in quality but they grew quite high and were ideal for shed uprights and fence strainer posts. The
jam tree was grown on a more gravely type soil and was ideal for fence posts that endured for years. Other
jam trees were on a poorer quality soil and were used for fence posts. Malley was very common in the area
but our farm didn’t have a lot. York gums were named after the historic town of York where they grow in
abundance. A very wiry tree that would have taxed the axemen’s skill when felling them.

Alex built a home with mud bricks which he made himself with a mould. A bungalow style it consisted of a
large family dining room, two bedrooms and verandahs all round. The kitchen laundry bathroom were
separate buildings off the back verandah. The toilet (dunny) was some distance from the house and had a
pan which had to be emptied when full. A not too pleasant job I am sure.

Mary Brown and Alex Thompson

In 1914 Alex married Mary Brown (known as Sis) who had migrated from Scotland with her family in 1908
and had settled in the district. The Brown and Loudon families eventually settled in Quairading and were a
very close knit family. Mary’s two youngest brothers Andy and Archie lived with grandma Brown and had
very mischievous natures. Gran was a strict tee-teetotaller and was most upset when the Quairading Club
was built and given an alcohol licence. She said she would like to see it burned to the ground “brick by

Archie and Andy enjoyed a drink. One Christmas they purchased half a dozen big brown bottles of beer and
hid them behind the dunny which of course was way up the back yard. Imagine their consternation when
they went to collect them Christmas day only to find a note from the “night-man” (the guy that emptied the
used pans and replaced them with clean ones) thanking them for the Christmas cheer!!! For the benefit of
the younger generation reading this in the olden days it was the custom to reward the folk that delivered a
service during the year with a small Christmas gift. These included the iceman, baker, milkman and postie.
Their wares were delivered to the house and the money just put in a jar for payment. IMAGINE!!
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